I'm taking a stab at building a lugged steel single speed/fixed gear and thought I'd share my progress with you all.
So far so good. My brazes aren't pretty but, I think they're strong. They'll look better when I'm done and have a chance to clean it up.
It's been a lot of fun so far. As a matter of fact, if anyone is interested, I'd be willing to put in all the labor for free to build you a lugged bike of your specification (geometry, size, etc) if you want to just pay for the parts. Then again, maybe you want to see a finished bike that hasn't fallen to pieces first! =)
This is my first frame. Welded frames might be easier if you already knew how to tig weld, but I don't. Also, you don't need as much "jigging" with lugged frames as you would with welded frames. I did build a pseudo jig anyway to help with laying out some of the pieces.
I'm using Deddacciai tubing bought from novacycles.com. The lugs are Long Shin stamped lugs. The fork is a nova cycles generic carbon fiber fork.
How hard is it to keep everything aligned while you're brazing the pieces together? Or are the lugs snug enough that there's not enough movement to worry about? Nova Cycles is just a couple of blocks from my house...it's becoming difficult to keep from heading over there.
Chieftan - Some pieces are harder to keep aligned than others. Friction does a decent job of keeping the pieces together for the most part. However, without a real jig, some of my lug angles have come out a degree or two off since the lugs do have some play in them. I use a craftsman digital angle finder to keep the rotational alignment good though, and that's probably more important. Otherwise, you can see the basic angle iron jig that I have to help with keeping the stays in place for brazing. The jig is actually something I found on instructables:
Fastev - that is a Grizzly tube notcher. Tell you the truth, I've had a lot of problems with it. One of the bolts was already stripped. The notcher shaft does not line up with the tube fixture. And the angle indicator is garbage. That being said, Grizzly has been very responsive to my complaints. They're sending me a new bolt and shaft assembly free of charge (which hopefully solve my problems.) In the meantime, I've used a flat file to align the tube fixture with the notcher and found a spare bolt to replace the stripped one. However, for the money, I can't complain that much.
No, I'm from Pennsylvania originally (go Penn State!) but one of my cousins is from Nebraska. Good call on the gloves. I usually remember to take them off but I get excited and forget sometimes.
I finished the chain and seat stays today!
Major milestone! Still have to put in a bridge in between each of the sets of stays. Thinking about spending some time doing a decorative shallow V shape with scrap pieces just for fun. I think it's aligned pretty well but there's a good chance I may have to do some minor cold setting as well. Then I have to figure out what I'm going to do about paint. Hmm.... suggestions?
I bolted it together. And I c-clamped it to my work bench. It's not great, but it's ok.
As for paint, I'm thinking about going cheap and just clearcoating. Can you just clearcoat on bare metal? It won't be pretty, but I kinda like the brushed steel look and this way, I can remember all the mistakes I made. =)
I'm in the middle of making the braces now and might actually be done with it tonight!
Amazing. You are teasing us to build our own frame. That would be a very project to do indeed.
Yours turns out fantastic, I am looking forward to seeing the finish bike.
Congrats on the work done so far.
I wanted to put some braces between the stays but all my scrap was tapered so I had to use two pieces, butted together to make a single symmetrical brace. Instead of doing them plain jane straight across, I decided to give them a little flair and angled them a bit. Here's the result:
Chain stay stiffener:
Seat stay stiffener:
The only other thing I did today was trim off the excess head tube. Now I just need to spend a little time making some of the joints a little prettier and then it's off to the bike shop to get the head tube faced and reamed for the headset and have the seat tube reamed for my seat post.
Well, I'm not sure if I'd say it's easy. It depends on how much experience you have in a shop and working with tools and metal, etc. Brazing isn't rocket science, but it does take some experience to do well. If you do a search on youtube for brazing, you can get an idea of what it's about. My buddy posted some videos that were helpful. Search for mchimonas and they should come up. I think there were a series of 7 videos.
Otherwise, google is your friend. Check out bob brown, henry james, nova cycle supply, richard sachs. And if you have specific questions, let me know.